England loves India: Pietersen (Test Diary)December 10th, 2008 - 7:35 pm ICT by IANS
Chennai, Dec 10 (IANS) While the England cricket team’s gesture to donate half their match fees from the first Test for Mumbai victims is highly appreciated, skipper Kevin Pietersen said the decision to return for the series had much to do with the sentiments of the team.”The team loves India and we love playing cricket in India and we get paid to play as professionals,” said Pietersen. “The boys are all excited and we hope to do well in the Test series.”
He asserted that the team was looking ahead to playing some cricket.
Threat of rain looms large over Test match
Nature has a way of mocking at mortals. For all the ballyhoo about wet weather and threat of cyclone, Wednesday dawned a bright, sunny day much to the relief of the city that is just about recovering from cyclone Nisha’s havoc.
Although the Met office has forecast a wet week, there were no such signs as the sun blazed down and dark clouds scuttled out of sight, thus aiding preparations of the pitch that England skipper Kevin Pietersen described as a “good track”.
Thus, everything points to a prompt start and the Indian cricketers for sure would enjoy having the sun on their backs.
In fact, both the teams seemed to enjoy the conditions although the mercury levels inched upwards as the day progressed.
Heavy security blanket
The other “hot” topic doing the rounds here is the heavy security blanket. It gets much tighter to the point of being oppressive in the team hotel, the Taj Connemara, as an Indian player demonstrated when he argued with the security personnel who insisted on frisking his visitor.
As well as the teams are putting up with prying eyes and deadly guns, the paying public might find security a tad discomforting. The organisers have banned food carriers and even plastic water bottles, saying they have put up stalls to ensure that spectators would not watch the game on empty stomachs.
The security measures could drastically impact the turn out. The tickets that went on sale Tuesday are not exactly being gobbled up and one official said the sale so far has been “average”.
If it is so, then there are not many takers for the emotional appeal to turn out in numbers to appreciate not just a good game of cricket but also salute England team for returning to play the Test series.
Dhoni, Pietersen remain cool
The two media conferences Wednesday provided an excellent case study of the two rival captains, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Kevin Pietersen.
The visible common factors between the two were the calm and composure with which they tackled the media. While Dhoni was his usual earthy self, Pietersen’s sense of humour was more evident in some of his replies.
Both are dealing with pressure of different kinds. The expectations on Dhoni are ever increasing following the 2-0 series win against Australia and the 5-0 drubbing of England in the ODI series, while Pietersen is facing questions over his leadership.
The upcoming series could thus well be a defining point in their respective careers.